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Make Your Berries Last Longer with Aloe?

Making food last longer can cut down on waste and cost. Is there an easy way to lengthen the life of berries at home? Experiment to find out with a plant biology project.

Strawberries and Aloe plant biology student science experiment

Leaves from the aloe vera plant are often used to help soothe a sunburn, but the gel in the plant's leaves also has anti-fungal properties. If aloe can be used as an anti-fungal against certain kinds of fungus, can the plant (or aloe juice) be used as a household food preservative for fruits and other produce that mold quickly?

Berries are a great example of a fruit that may have a short life after you bring it home and put it in the refrigerator. It can be frustrating to pull out a container of strawberries and see signs of mold on some of the berries after a short time. Raspberries, too, may show signs of going bad more quickly than you would like, and if you have bitten into a raspberry that has started to mold, it is a taste you will definitely remember. Fruits can be costly, so finding ways to prevent molding may make a big difference in terms of what foods appear on your grocery list.

Can science help you make your fruits last longer at home?

Student Science Connections

The new Can Aloe Juice Save Your Berries from Mold? plant biology science project guides students in an investigation of aloe vera as a readily-available food preservative. Can washing freshly bought berries in an aloe vera solution or aloe vera juice inhibit the growth of mold and make berries last longer? Does the aloe change the taste of the berries in any way? Does aloe work similarly with all fruits and berries?

These are all interesting questions for a student to explore, and the project can easily be extended to look at other food preservation techniques, including storage, packaging, or a process like thermotherapy. Does pairing another approach to preserving berries with washing them in aloe juice make a difference compared to using only one approach to making the berries last longer?

Put these food science questions—and a bottle of aloe juice—to the test with hands-on student science projects like these:

Plant biology projects like Can Aloe Juice Save Your Berries from Mold? are supported by Astellas USA Foundation.


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